Forget the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Baltimore Orioles are the new new team in the Prince Fielder market.
Actually, they've been mentioned as a potential destination for the so-called "PF Flyer" for some time now. CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman, in a recent MLB Network appearance, mentioned the Baltimore Orioles' interest in the 27-year-old, 5'11, 275 lb slugger and MASNSports.com's Roch Kubatko (@MASNRoch) wrote on Saturday on Twitter that the Orioles were, according to GM Dan Duquette, at least considering the idea of making a run at the still-unsigned free agent first baseman.
MLB Network Radio host Jim Duquette (@JimDuquette), cousin of the O's GM, wrote on Twitter this morning that the, "Orioles are definitely in on PF - it remains to be seen if they'll go to the 'magic' number. But there's plenty of motivation to sign him." What that "magic number" is who knows?
As we noted yesterday in the previous rumor roundup, Boston Globe writer Nick Cafardo wrote in his Sunday Baseball Notes column that the big question in the race to add the HR-hitting, high-OBP, middle-of-the-order bat was, "Who will give Fielder seven years?" Mr. Cafardo made no mention of the O's as a team with interest, but Mr. Duquette, in a follow-up Tweet provided several reasons why the Orioles might get involved, writing, "Reasons for O's to sign PF over Nats- 1. He's wicked good. 2. Get back fans that left them for the Nats. 3. Keep tv interest [higher] than Nats." That's interesting? Signing Prince Fielder to stick it to the Nationals? Really? Next rumor.
FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal's (@Ken_Rosenthal) too wrote this afternoon that this could be an O's vs Nats battle, suggesting that, "Presence of #Orioles in Fielder derby, as reported by @Jim_Duquette, could set up O's vs. #Nationals, giving Boras leverage he needs." Mr. Rosenthal then added that, "One GM told me last night that #Rangers are on Fielder "hard" but others continue to say TEX won't go heavy on years. We shall see."
CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) says the O's and Nats aren't alone in the market for Fielder, writing on Twitter that there are, "multiple teams still in on Prince but appears field has been narrowed to something close to a final 4." USA Today's Bob Nightengale (@BobNightengale) says it's three teams, or maybe more, writing on Twitter that, "The Nationals are finalist for Prince Fielder, but the #Rangers and at least one other still in running, sources close to Fielder say."
All this chatter, of course, comes after an unsubstantiated report last night that said the Nationals and Fielder had agreed on a deal. (No, I'm not linking to that report even if it ends up being right.) MLB Network Radio host Jim Bowden (@JimBowdenESPNXM) looked into the report and wrote that his sources told him, "The Nationals continue to work on a deal for Prince Fielder...BUT THERE IS NO DEAL repeat NO DEAL as of tonight." As of this afternoon, there's still no deal, but plenty of rumors. Are the O's the mystery team Boras needed to leverage interested teams? Are the Rangers really involved in spite of their own public protestations to the contrary? Are the Nationals in on Fielder in spite of their recent silence on the matter? Will much-maligned owners like Frank McCourt and Peter Angelos actually spend BIG this winter to bring Fielder to their respective homes? Will this ever end?